Home > Student Loans > Q&A: Student Loan Defaults and Garnished Wages

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The amount of federal and private student loan debt held by Americans, which is expected to top $1 trillion this year, has now surpassed credit card debt. And given the persistently high unemployment rate, it should come as no surprise that more Americans are defaulting on their student loans.

In September, the Department of Education released fiscal year 2009 student loan default rates, which had, “risen to 8.8 percent, up from 7.0 percent in FY 2008… default rates increased for all sectors: from 6.0 percent to 7.2 percent for public institutions, from 4.0 percent to 4.6 percent for private institutions, and from 11.6 percent to 15 percent at for-profit schools.”

[Related Story: How Millenials Can Take Control of their Finances and How Parents Can Help]

Making matters worse for those in debt, student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy proceedings (unless you can convince the judge that you are experiencing a particularly severe and ongoing hardship). This generally means that regardless of your situation (jobless, homeless, broke), the student loan debts are going to stay with you. The government can even garnish your wages if you are in default.

We spoke to Mark Kantrowitz about this issue and some options for people facing this difficult situation. Kantrowitz is publisher of the FinAid and Fastweb web sites and author of the Amazon.com bestseller Secrets to Winning a Scholarship. He has testified before Congress about student aid on several occasions and is on the editorial board of the Council on Law in Higher Education.

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Credit.com: How much can the government take from someone’s wages?
Kantrowitz: The federal government has very strong powers to compel repayment of defaulted federal education loans, including garnishment of up to 15% of the borrower’s take home pay and interception of income tax refunds, both without needing a court order.

Credit.com: Is there any way to stop them from garnishing wages?
Kantrowitz: Borrowers do have a one-time opportunity to rehabilitate their loans by making 9 out of 10 consecutive full voluntary on-time monthly payments. Wage garnishment is involuntary, so that doesn’t count. But the payments are supposed to be reasonable and affordable, so there is some room for negotiation. Once the loan has been rehabilitated, the wage garnishment and refund offset orders are lifted, and the borrower can switch into income-based repayment to get an affordable monthly payment.

[Featured Product: Need help paying for school? Check out these student loan options.]

Credit.com: Is it possible to settle the debt in other ways?
Kantrowitz: Defaulted borrowers have the option of making a lump sum payment of what they owe. Sometimes this settlement can be for less than what they owe, such as waiving the collection charges or knocking off 10% of the total debt.

Image: a.mina, via Flickr.com

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  • GodSAveAmerica

    here’s a good one. I don’t even have a student loan; yet [redacted] sent garnishment papers to my employer who took a large chunk of my salary and sent it who knows where.
    I questioned my employer and they told me it was for a student loan; yet when I ask them for copies of the paperwork they received they claim they don’t have it and central payroll does; central payroll claims to not have the paperwork also.
    I called [redacted] and I was informed “my File” is no longer with their office. They sent the garnishment for a nonexistent student loan. They even claim to not put the bad information on my credit history claiming I am 14 payments behind and it is charged off.. Shows zero balance?
    Yet there it is on my credit history; the only bad entry…
    [Redacted] also informed me the “loan” was with the GAO??? What???
    I have already contacted an attorney and they are just drooling over this fraudulent case.

  • dvci7359

    I am a co signer on a private Sallie Mae student loan, which has been turned over to collection for a company called Naviant. I am 56 years old and make $13 per hour and have no savings. I would like to contribute money to a 401k offered by my employer but I am afraid of my wages and/or my 401k being garnished. As cosigner, can my wages be garnished in NC?

    • Jeanine Skowronski


      Many retirement assets, including 401(k)s are protected from garnishment, but only until you start withdrawing funds. (SS is exempt generally.)
      Sometimes the best course of action could be attempt to negotiate a payment plan before you end up with a garnishment.

      Different state laws apply, so you may want to check with a consumer attorney in your area to see what protections you have or what your best course of action is.

      Thank you,


  • Susan

    I have been paying my loans every month on time, but not what they are asking for. Today I get a call from Navient wanting more money and they sent an employment verification letter to my co-worker, not employer, is this a violation? I though as long as you give them something, they can’t harrass you? 15 calls aday from Navient is just too much. Please help.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act applies only to third party collection agencies. Nevertheless there may be other laws that apply. We suggest you either file a complaint with the CFPB or talk with a consumer law attorney familiar with student loan law.

  • james

    HELP ME PLEASE!! I was overpaid by the gibill in 2005 I filed bankruptcy back in 2006-2007 the overpayment was included in the bankruptcy and was discharged. From what I’ve been told they needed to file paperwork with the courts when I filed the bankruptcy if they didn’t then its discharged. They didn’t file the paperwork. I’ve filed a waiver and sent a copy of bankruptcy papers to the debt management back in 2008 when they tried taking my whole check I was refunded my check and haven’t heard anything till now about it and now they are taking my whole check which is my only income I’ve disputed this and tried making a payment plan until I can prove that it was discharged and they are denying my hardship saying I didn’t file in time and saying the debts nondischargeable which I did file the hardship paperwork when I was contacted about it. One lady said she seen it and only a small amount was approved but the other ppl I talk to say they don’t see anythingI don’t know what to do because they deny everything please help

    • http://www.bankruptcysoapbox.com Cathy Moran

      Certain military and governmental benefit repayments are not dischargeable in bankruptcy for a certain period. I wrote a list of those provisions http://goo.gl/cRW1Cr.

      If you believe that your debt was discharged in your earlier bankruptcy, you can reopen your bankruptcy case and ask the judge for a determination of whether it was discharged.

      I suggest you search out an ombudsman or counselor for veterans for better information on your options if you find the debt wasn’t discharged.

      You could also consider filing a new bankruptcy to discharge this debt. Make sure you point out the governmental nature of the debt and have the relevant documents reviewed before you file.

      Good luck.

  • KDS91

    I owe $2000 to the ERS. Received a letter a little less than a month ago. I don’t make much money these days but will they accept a monthly payment of, say $200 a month. I can’t pay it off in full immediately.

  • beebee

    Jr how did that go? Did you file this year? I went to school ,payed on time, but when the economy failed my job was gone. Could not find another no matter how hard I tried until last year. I am a single mother of two year old twins, but they did not care. They took every penny of my refund leaving me with nothing. I am at a loss…

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    If you are in student loan rehabilitation and meeting the terms of the agreement I don’t see how they would go after those funds. (They typically either garnish wages or offset tax refunds or Social Security funds.) But I can’t say for sure – you may want to ask the Department of Education.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Dan —
    If you believe you were the victim of fraud, you could contact a lawyer to see what you can do. But many students do not find jobs in the fields they trained for (or intended to train for). Sadly, you are far from alone in your situation. We wrote about it here: Most For-Profit College Grads Earn Less Than High School Dropouts

  • bigA

    if your in default and they garnish your wages will get out of default??

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Not sure we understand the question. Could you restate it?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I would encourage you to contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for assistance. They may be able to help you resolve this. Will you let us know what they say?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I am sorry I don’t know what a quick loan is. But I don’t see how loan funds could be ‘garnished,” unless the creditor has a judgment against you (after taking you to court). In that case, funds you deposit into your bank account could possibly be at risk. Please make sure you get your credit reports and scores to see what’s going on. Here’s how to get your free annual credit reports.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    What was the garnishment the result of and was it state or federal?

  • Tabitha

    Recently my son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Its been weeks since the surgery… I only have 5 classes left to graduate. However, now I need to be there for him therapy etc. This is going to be a long term situation… I am worried and scared to death of how I will continue to be there for him and fulfill my responsibilities… He is my priority… Sure I can defer I am sure; but then what?

  • HDG

    I am in default on 2 student loans. I am a single mother, no income, and I receive government assistance (food stamps). They have taken my income tax return already, but it does reflect that when I call. Since I am get SNAP benefits, and have no income. Can my defaulted loans be stopped/deferred in any way?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      In cases where you’ve suffered a job loss or other economic hardship, you may be eligible for a deferment or forbearance through your lender, though eligibility and terms will vary from lender to lender. In general, the time frames for temporary relief on student loans can range anywhere from a month or two to a year or longer. You may even wish to reach out to your student loan servicer to explain your situation as they may have other options that may help relieve the burden — even if temporarily while you get back on your feet.

      Outside of deferment or forbearance, there are other options that you may qualify for, all of which are explained in detail in a piece Gerri wrote here: The Ultimate Guide to Student Loans

      • Jonathan Gavalas

        Unfortunately this is not the case. A deferment or forbearance is only available to borrowers that are still in repayment, not in default. Once in default, weather it be with the original loan servicer or collection agency, there are only a few options. 1. Set up a rehab program. In this program, you make 9 monthly payments set by loan servicer or collection agency. These payments do not go towered your loan. After the 9th payment is made they will move you out of default. 2. Consolidate your loans. As long as your wages are not being garnished you can consolidate into a Direct Loan. This pays off the defaulted loan in full within a few months. After consolidated, you can request an Income Based Repayment, and with no income, your payment will be $0 a month. 3. If you are already consolidated into a Direct Loan or FFEL Loan and your loans have not gone to a 3rd party collection agency, you can request an income based repayment plan. Once approved they will place your account back in good standing.

  • Bucky

    I have a question regarding a garnishment on a federal student loan that has been defaulted on… I do not make very much money & offered to make small monthly payments on my account which were turned down as they wanted huge monthly payments that I couldn’t even begin to afford. So, they garnished my wages. Some weeks (not many) I pay $5.00-10.00 thru the garnishment. And I had offered a bit more than that to start with. Can they continue to call and harass me about payments with the garnishment in force? Thanks

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Bucky –

      I don’t know of any reason why they can’t continue to call. What you need to do now is to focus on getting out of default and getting into Income Based Repayment so you have an affordable payment. Have you tried at all to do that?

  • Monique

    My husband has school loan debt from over 13 yrs ago. They just recently garnished our tax return. Can they still do that, even from that long ago? He has filed bankruptcy in 2007.

  • megan

    I was contacted by pioneer debt recovery. They told me I have to make a $500 payment by tomrw and $1000 payment by next month. After that I have to pay $600 a month. I live on my own I can’t afford these payments. Can they demand such large amounts? What would happen if I can only make half the amounts they’re requiring? And when will they garnish my paychecks? This is all new to me and I am very worried. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Oh and this is for a sba disaster loan. I lost everything in a flood 2 years ago.

  • sebastian

    My name is Sebastian, and as many like me the VA got me good for the post 9/11 gibill. I was reported to the treasury department and to pioneer credit recovery services. Now because of the way I was treated by the military and having lived through afghanistan and iraq, adjusting to every day life has been tough and difficult. The stresses I lived through unfortunately have not left me, for now I am being hunted for an overpayment that was not even my fault. Now pioneer is going to take my wages and my taxes. I have been in contact with treasury and the VA and they have given some options. But after reading some comments here, it appears that Pioneer does not give a f… even if the payments have been agreed with the originator of the debt. I am soon to become a father and I was wondering what options do I have, and how can I get pioneer of my back?

  • Dani

    My name is dani. I went to school back in 2010 and only attended for a few months. I signed up for financial aid to pay for my classes. I was suppose to get grants. I never once received any. I have a number calling me telling me I owe money for a student loan that I did not receive. My mother paid the school the money we owed for the classes. Which was $3,000 something odd dollars. This number is telling me I owe $2000. Which is impossible since I didn’t take a loan out. What should I do? I can’t afford them to take my taxes.

  • Renee Sides

    I had been defaulted & then rehabbed my loan with Sallie Mae by paying $100 a month for 12 months about 10 years ago. However, they said after it was rehabbed that I now had to pay $400 a month. I told them I couldn’t afford that & they said they would garnish my wages, which they did. I have been paying for around 10 years. I never got any statements or anything as to what I owed on the $18,000 loan. When I called Sallie Mae for a status last year, they said I now owed $30,000 with penalties & interest. When I tried to get an update this year, it said my servicer was now Southwest Student Services, owned by Wells Fargo. Southwest Student Services website was gone, and when I called the Wells Fargo number listed as the contact for Southwest Student Services, it sent me directly to Sallie Mae, who said they had no information on my loan. My employer gave me the name of the collect on the garnishment, Enterprise Recovery Systems. I called them, and they said now I owe $40,000 because they are charging me $23 a day to handle this account. They tried to get me to reconsolidate with them. I asked them why they would want to make me another loan when they are already getting $23 a day & my wages are being garnished. She said they want to help people. I laughed & Googled the company, and it sounds like they have some shady business practices plus a lawsuit again them. I told them I am contacting an attorney. I’m wondering if even still owe money after reading about the guy whose loan was paid off & they never told him. I don’t know what to do other than contacting a lawyer. Any advice?

  • Shelly

    Ok, how about this: I co-signed for some federal student loans. Now, they are not being paid. I know that as a co-signer that I am responsible but is there not any way to garnish her wages if she is on disability? ( I know this sounds cruel but you don’t know the half of it!) or is there anything I can legally do at all?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Shelly – I am not sure I understand your question. Are you asking how you can garnish her wages? Or how she can protect her wages from garnishment??

  • Barbi

    My wages are currently being garnished, have started a second job, can this job now be garnished also, or can the garnishment change which job they collect money from?

  • Lindsey

    if a collection company (nco) already has a wage garnishment on my paycheck where they have been taking 15% of my wages for the past year and a half can they also take my entire tax return? i am single mother of two children and use my tax return to live off of as additional income for the entire year. this year alone i have paid over 6k in student loans (through the garnishment and a second loan) and i make under 27k a year. i dont know how they expect me to live if they continue to take everything i have. as it is even with using the money throughout the year from my previous return i can barely afford to feed my kids. can they take both the paycheck AND federal tax return?????

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Lindsey –

      Is this a federal student loan they are garnishing your wages for? If so, then your tax refund my be at risk for offset. If you are worried this is going to happen, then please read these instructions for challenging the tax offset for your student loans.

  • Joseph


    I borrowed around $60,000 in private student loans to pursue a mathematics degree a few years back. I have a disability (of a psychological sort) that interfered with my ability to finish my degree. I’d planned to get an MA or even a Ph D. However, that never materialized. By the way, I had the disability when I took out the loans.

    At any rate, I’m now confronted with my Sallie Mae student loan debt going into default in a few weeks. I’m not young (65), and I earn low wages for part-time work in a restaurant. I also get Social Security.

    What I really wish to know now is whether or not there’s anything I can do to prevent disaster when my loans default. I cannot come anywhere close to paying what they demand — $450 to $600 per month. I can currently pay only around $50 to $75 per month. I understand that the collector (whoever that turns out to be) will not be able to garnish my Social Security, but they can take part of my earnings through garnishment. It’s not clear to me what the limitations are on what the collectors can take from me.

    I made the terrible misjudgment of borrowing money I should never have borrowed. But that cannot be undone. Now, what options, if any, do I have? Any advice would be appreciated.


    • Michael Schreiber

      Joseph — Thanks for sharing your story here. One thing to consider is that while under most circumstance student loans cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy, there are rare exceptions. If that’s something you’re interested in learning more about, you might consider contacting a bankruptcy attorney. Also, would you mind posting this in our forum too? Our experts as well as members of the community will be able to respond and share their insights. Click here: http://forum.credit.com
      Thanks very much.

  • Chris Gadwa

    I want people to read this.

    I had defaulted student loans. A total of $11,000 but with interest in was close to $14,000. The Department of Education sent the default to collections – Pioneer Credit Recovery, Inc. (founded 1980, owned by Sallie Mae). For more information, write to Pioneer Credit Recovery, Inc., PO Box 99, Arcade, NY 14009 or call 1-888-287-0571.
    I tried to reason with the collection agency. The offered me to pay 10% within 20 days and then 900 a month. I could not afford it at the time of the offer. I then tried to offer what I could but they would not accept my offer. They then did a garnishment of wages for more than 14,000.
    My pacheck showed a wage attachment of a little over $400 a paycheck (ouch right) & this started in Feb. 2011. Well here is the kicker folks, they never stopped collecting the debt. I paid them over 19,000 – 5,100.68 more than what was owed to them. I found out today that they never sent in an “Order to Release”. When I called the collection agency they realized the “overpayment” but told me the Department of Education went through a system conversion over the last year and that it was failing to send out seize letters so basically they keep taking money from your paycheck even if you garnishment is settled.
    Today I had to hunt down the appropriate address (since my company does not accept fax numbers) and provide this address to the collection agency so they could send the documents imemdiately to seize the garnishment. It’s too late for this paycheck unfortunately they will get another $400.00 and maybe even next check if they do not send in the paperwork by November 1st.
    I’ve been struggling and to know they have been stealing my money paycheck after paycheck for more than half a year makes me physically sick to my stomach! They can blame their system conversion all they want but this is absolutely not okay. Don’t they have checks n balances? Here is what she said trying to weasel out of looking bad, “Your company doesn’t have a fax number so we didn’t know where to send the seize documentation to so we just left it.” Are you phucking kidding me? They knew they were continuing to steal my money but first blamed it on the Dept of Education (cause they use same program) system conversion then they blamed it on my company for not accepting fax releases.
    I’m not steaming pissed off right now. I had serious issues back in May with my gallbladder and have been struggling to pay my healthcare bills because of the garnishment. I’m not in collections because I couldn’t pay. Had I had that 800.00 I could have made payments on my health care bills (even with insurance the surgery cost me 5k out of pocket).
    Can I sue them? These doesn’t seem at all legal to me?
    Please people if you are being garnished by the IRS or any government agency like Dept. of Education via a collection agency, please make sure you check your paychecks and calculate what is being taken out against the wage garnishment itself – Please people make sure you know they do not stop collecting money even after all your debt has been paid.
    I know they are phucking liars because in 2008 the IRS garnished me for back taxes and the same exact thing happened. They never send in the order to stop collecting until you call them and make it known to them that they need to do so. They are phucking lying thieves!!!!!

  • Carmen

    What is the name of the service that assists in getting the student loans out of default? You mentioned a company wherein you make payments and after 10 payments it gets you out of default.

  • Doreen

    I had a student loan 30years ago and I couldnt afford to pay it back so I claimed bankruptcy payed a lawyer went to quart even got discharge papers and they have been taking my income taxes for 10years call and harass my self my family and my job.I was also told they are garnishing my wages starting in my next pay check I dont make enough to pay my bills or feed my kids this is a disgrace however if i wasnt lied to from a lawyer and a judge i might have tryed to find a way to some how pay it back but now im in worse dept then ever I have no idea what my rights are and I have no idea what to do I dont have anything showing what they took already from my income tax. Im so fed up.

  • Arrianne

    PLEASE HELP HUSBAND LEAVING FOR THE ARMY IN 5 MONTHS STUDENT LOANS ARE IN DEFAULT AND IN GARNISHING.My husband wadges have been garnished for a year now and we are in in-come based housing and on food stamps and he has the only income its minimum wadge.He called who has his student and try to pay them the whole default amount but they would not let him the problem is if he does the 10 month payments they will want to garnish his wadges from the Army and that could cause huge problems is there any way around this? The Army is the only hope for our family and both or our credit is shot.PLEASE HELP.

  • Laura Maynard

    As per my last comment I live in new York state?

  • Laura Maynard

    I took out a federal parent loan for my son to attend college. He dropped out the first year and before one year passed he started attending another college. They are garnishering my pay. They are not aware he signed back up for school. Am I able to stop this because he is back in school? What is the time frame?

  • SP

    Student loans currently in wage garnishment status. They take out a big chunk already and when asked how to get it out of default, their answer was to pay another $500 per pay check for nine months. I didn’t ask where they came up with that number but it’s highly unreasonable. I’ve been on AWG for over a year and all I want to do is get a lower payment or begin paying on my own outside of the garnishmen to get my credit fixed. Willing to do the nine month rehab thing but the amount is ridiculous. Are there any laws to refer to or negotiion points you can guide me to, to try and get this $500 per pay check voluntary payment down some? Thanks.

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  • Amy

    I pay on two student loans to Wells Fargo. I am in default and cannot afford to catch up to current (until the hubby gets a job), but make the minimum payment every month. They call me every day. I stopped answering b/c I can’t really do anything new for them, so they called my in-laws, a number we never gave to them. I turned it over to my state’s Attorney General and was told that the original creditor was not covered by fair credit collection laws. By the way, they will not allow us to do a deferral, b/c they require the account to be current. They will not do a forbearance b/c they consider it a personal (not student)loan, even though we receive tax documents every year for the interest we’ve paid.

  • Zeva

    I’m posting this question with the hopes that someone out there has had the same experience or has further information on the process…
    My elderly mother lives off of her social security income and for the past few years it has been garnished for repayment on a student loan she co-signed for my brother about 20 yrs. ago. Two days ago she was contacted by an outside credit agency, the rep. told her that the debt would no longer be handled through her social security check and would instead be handled by the collection company he works for. Her most recent check no longer reflects the garnishment. Is there anyone that knows more about what this change means?

    • Dirk

      Hi Zeva,

      I live in Europe and draw USA social security . I have been paying back 15 percent of my SS thru a garnishment for an old student loan 30 years ago.

      This past month I also saw that they stopped taking out the student loan debt.

      I will try to find out more.

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  • K. Malin

    I have huge private student loans, the total monthy due is almost as much as i make. Is there anything i can do? I can’t afford an apartment, my father is batteling cacner and we’re close to loosing the house. Is there anyway besides bankruptcy?

    • Michael Schreiber

      It’s hard to say without knowing your situation in detail. We are going to be posting some follow up articles with more information, but it would be a good idea to consult with an attorney and/or a financial planner to get a better sense of what your options are.

  • R. Williams

    Student loans have absolutely destroyed my life. I have been married since 2004. I work. I have 4 children, one in college and my husband receives Social Security Disability for a mental disorder. Since 2000, my tax refund has been taken and now within the last year, my wages have now been garnished – they take about 10% of my income every pay period. I have to rent my home because I cannot get a mortgage. I pay high interest on everything and my credit has been destroyed. I want to file bankruptcy but I can’t even afford that. I live paycheck to paycheck and I don’t know what to do anymore because the cost of living is increasing and my bank account is practically negative every week. I sent the US Department of Education a Financial Disclosure Statement with copies of my W-2’s, bills, etc…and have never received a response – that was 3 years ago. I am so depressed with all of these mounting bills that I really need to go to the hospital for treatment, but I can’t afford that either. If I don’t work everyday, then my family won’t have a place to live. I don’t even know where to begin but I do know one thing, I cannot afford to have my wages garnished any longer. What should I do?



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  • Michael Schreiber

    I never wrote, “Private student loans will not work with you at all.” I wrote, “student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy proceedings (unless you can convince the judge that you are experiencing a particularly severe and ongoing hardship.” Read more about the different kinds of loans that are not dischargeable here: http://www.finaid.org/questions/bankruptcy.phtml
    Beyond that, Mr. Kantrowitz specifically says, “Sometimes this settlement can be for less than what they owe, such as waiving the collection charges or knocking off 10% of the total debt.”

  • Nicholas Trolio

    Really? Private student loans will not work with you at all. People fail to realize the problem is with private loans. So eveything you said is false if you are trying to include private loans in your article. Moron.

    • Kate

      I think that what Nicholas was saying was that private student loans aren’t held to any of these standards, and are not required to work with borrowers. He knows you didn’t write that – it seems as though you didn’t know that.

      Those of us with private debt are still stuck – however, the bankruptcy laws (as I understand) were changed in June of this year (2011) to make it easier to discharge private student loans through bankruptcy. The hard part is finding any information about this online that’s up-to-date.

      Maybe, if you’re interested in helping out the roughly 1/3 of those with student loan debt who have significant private loans, you could look into that and toss us a bone.

      • Michael Schreiber

        Fair enough. I will do a follow up post that better addresses the difference between public and private loans relating to these issues. Apologies to Nicholas to misreading his comment. The moron thing distracted me.

      • E

        Can agencies/government garnish your wages on private loans? I know they can on federal student loans, but what about private loans?


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The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team